Monday, February 26, 2018

The Great Fish Point Lighthouse - finally visited

I have driven between Port Elizabeth and East London so many times over the years yet the Great Fish Point Lighthouse has always just been a dot on the coastline some distance away.  The reason? Word has always been that the track up to the lighthouse is terrible and my Polo isn't quite high clearance nor 4x4.  A little while ago a fellow blogger posted about the lighthouse and I asked what the road was like. "Not a problem, you'll be able to do it easily." Suddenly it jumped up to the top of my Eastern Cape "to do" list. A road trip shortly after gave me the opportunity I needed and I took a sharp right off the R72 and what do you know... A quick smooth ride along a relatively smooth track. 

At 9 meters high the Great Fish Point Lighthouse is one of the smallest lighthouses on the South African coastline.  It didn't need to be built very high as it stands 76 meters above sea level and looks out across a dune veld to the coastline.  It may seem that the lighthouse is actually far from the coast (800 meters from the shoreline in fact), but the light can be seen 32 nautical miles out to sea and flash on the sea side every 10 seconds.

Although the large ships sail past quite far off these days, back in the 1800's ships had to be warned about three shallow reefs to the north-east of where the lighthouse is located.  These outcrops have taken a number of ships over the years, both before and after the erection of the lighthouse. In 1890 a Lighthouse Commission set up by the Colonial Government recommended that a lighthouse is built on this coast, but after several holdups the light was only completed in 1898, making it 120 years old this year.  Now I can say I've been there and done that.  Next time I want to stay over as it is one of only a few lighthouses on the South African coast that also offers accommodation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A bath with a view in Hogsback

Most people would prefer a bath (with the drought, not something I have done in a very long time*) in the privacy of their own bathroom behind a closed door.  Most people don't mean everybody though.  There are those who would jump at the opportunity to take a bath in what is probably the most famous open-air bath in South Africa.

I've only seen photos of it, but on my last visit to Hogsback I decided to swing by Away with the Fairies and see the bath for myself, hoping that it wasn't occupied and thus off limits.  The barrier rope was down so I slipped down the path and there it was sitting on the edge.  The special part isn't the physical bath but rather what you see when you soak in.  The valley below, ancient forests and the three Hogsback mountains on the other side.

If you want to make use of the bath it is essential to make a booking with Away with the Fairies, with preference obviously given to their guests.  30-minute slots are available from 10am until 8pm.  They light a traditional donkey nice and early to warm up the water and bathers are asked to keep it stoked so that others can also have a hot bath.  The one prerequisite is that you have to use bio-degradable soaps if you're going to actually wash.  Most people just like soaking in the bath while soaking in the view. All pun attended.  Best of all, it is FREE.

*I do shower though, even if it's only under slow running (more like barely dripping) shower.